The decline of story telling only intensified as years in our industry passed. A medium with potential to connect at a personal level even when in the midst of hundreds had been reduced to a marketing scheme spun around a star's image. Our films have tried harder and harder to make the spectacles we clearly cannot afford the highpoints of the story. How many times can we be awed when the hero breaks his character of a hibernating cheetah and kills countless people just before the interval? The compulsion of an interval does make it tough on the writing to create two highpoints, but repeating the plot lines and all the details that come with it is just irresponsible behavior.
Jai (Prabhas) arrives at a green screen neighborhood (supposed to be Milan) and starts playing his keytar without even the courtesy of joining the rest of the band at the podium. It is the hero's entrance and hence the camera stays on him and he doesn't even bother to get to the podium. All this might seem insignificant in the larger scheme of things because Jai never plays his keytar again and it adds nothing to his character. But, this is precisely the attitude that made our films the gaudy low-life marketing strategies.
Manasa (Richa Gangopadhyaya) runs into Jai while trying to get away from a multi ethnic group that obviously has one guy who speaks Telugu. Jai doesn't even fight them, just tells them what he CAN do, smashes a car and tells them to love all. This omnipresent group that wants to rape triggers the Jai-Manasa love story. After spending a weekend with Jai on a beach Manasa wishes if life can be this wonderful all the time and her skepticism about it is justified because she has a family back in Andhra that owns a huge bungalow, a paralyzed character, suppressed wives and people who live for revenge. The idea of two villages locked in rivalry is so familiar that the film doesn't even bother to give reasons for it.
However, Jai makes it back to India before Manasa and schemes a way to get into her home by tricking Poorna (Subba Raju), one of her relatives. And soon enough he is changing lives by making speeches that has as many as 3 reaction shots from every actor and lightens up the bungalow's mood with his urban charm (pff! urban).
The killer in Jai is revealed at the half way mark when he saves The Deva family from an attack planned by one of Manasa's uncles. The bang - he saved his own family, he is the rival's (Deva) son.
As unsurprising as that twist felt at the time, the second half further slumped into the pit of clich\xe9s with the story of Deva (Satyaraj) and his aspiration to bring peace to the region. Anushka (Jai's cousin) fills in for the second half romance as per the market requirement. The film kept both its female leads alive and Jai gets to do only one of them; unlike the practice of gifting both the girls to the hero as task completion trophies.
The end of it...Jai achieves by loving the enemy what his dad couldn't through non-action for the past 20 years.
The film's got a decent visual standard, occasional humor and a decent set of tracks. But, on the whole it doesn't sell because of the many lazy liberties it had taken.
Talking of lazy liberties, Prabhas appeared physically inconsistent and irrespective of what he looked like, the performance has a forced sense to it wherein what he tries to express seems to stop within himself and we never get to see it, like most times. Satyaraj was almost making an impact, but the masala gloss of the circumstances depicted has little room to operate in.
The scheme gets overly lost in its belief of commercial entertainment and never manages an honest moment.view less